Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 10:47 UK

Hawking gives up academic title

Professor Stephen Hawking
A new Lucasian Professor will be appointed in the near future

Professor Stephen Hawking has given up a prestigious academic title.

The physicist, who has motor neurone disease, is completing his last day as Cambridge University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

The university said it was policy for holders of the title to retire at 67 and Prof Hawking was 67 in January.

Prof Hawking, who is one of the world's leading cosmologists, will continue working at the university and a new Lucasian Professor will be appointed.

Previous holders of the title, founded by MP Henry Lucas in 1663, include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Sir Joseph Larmor and Sir James Lighthill.

Prof Hawking, who began work in Cambridge in 1962 and has held the Lucasian Professorship since 1979, is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College.

He gained fame following the publication of his best-selling book A Brief History of Time in 1988.

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